The ocean is one of the largest bodies of water on Earth, covering about 70% of our planet’s surface and containing 97% of all water. It is also home to countless plants, animals, and other organisms.
The Ocean plays an important role in our climate, as it absorbs heat from the sun and transports it throughout the globe. This additional heat helps to warm our planet’s atmosphere. As the oceans continue to warm, they will become more vulnerable to changes in temperature and carbon dioxide levels that affect the health of the many creatures who live in the sea.
There are many types of oceans, ranging from shallow waters near the coast to the deepest parts of the ocean. Each has different characteristics for properties like temperature and salinity.
Several major ocean currents move around our world, carrying warm surface water from the tropics to the poles and cooling it as it moves. These currents are part of a larger circulation called the thermohaline circulation, which is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes.
Winds also influence the movement of water. They push warmer surface water from the tropics toward the poles, where it cools and rises in density. This movement is also known as the ocean conveyor belt.
Thermohaline Circulation: This large-scale ocean circulation is driven by the combined effects of temperature (thermo) and salt (halos). It consists of vertical currents, which sink heavier water and rise lighter water.
This type of circulation is found mainly in the oceans’ deep ocean regions. It is the main reason why our oceans are not as hot as they once were.
Phytoplankton in the ocean can change the way oceans mix by reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches deeper water, limiting the heating of mixed layers. This can happen because phytoplankton are able to absorb solar energy at the surface, where it is less concentrated and therefore less likely to reach the deepest ocean regions.
Hydrothermal Vents: In 1977, researchers discovered that vents in the ocean floor release superheated water rich with minerals from Earth’s interior, which nourishes unique bacteria that are essential for the survival of a variety of species living on the bottom.
Biodiversity: There are thousands of different kinds of marine life, including fish, algae, and shellfish. The ocean is home to more than 226,000 species, but scientists are still discovering new ones.
Coral Reefs: There are more than a million coral reefs in the world’s oceans, and they help protect beaches from erosion by waves. They are also home to a wide variety of other marine organisms, from jellyfish to whales.
These habitats provide a safe place for the fish to breed and raise their young, and they are vital sources of food for other ocean creatures. But they are under threat from global warming, and it is difficult for corals to resist the heat generated by a changing climate.
The Earth’s surface is gradually melting, as the oceans soak up more of the extra heat and carbon dioxide that we put into the air. This can have a wide range of impacts on the ocean, from causing it to become more acidic or toxic to altering its ecosystem.